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Benjamin Williams Leader - Landscape with mill

Benjamin Williams Leader

Landscape with mill

Oil on board: 16 x 24 (in) / 40.6 x 61 (cm)
Signed and dated lower right: B.W. Leader / 1872

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Worcester 1831 - 1923 Shere, Surrey

Ref: BZ 281


Landscape with mill


Signed and dated lower right: B.W. Leader / 1872

Oil on board: 16 x 24 in / 40.6 x 61 cm

Frame size: 21 ½ x 29 ½ in / 54.6 x 74.9 cm






Sir George Burton Hunter KBE DSC (1845-1937), then by decent


Sir George Burton Hunter was the founder of the Swan Hunter, the Newcastle shipbuilders




Born as Benjamin Williams, he added the surname Leader, his father’s middle name, to distinguish himself from the Williams family. Upon abandoning a profession in engineering for art, he became a pupil at the Royal Academy in 1853. The following year he showed his first picture there, and continued to exhibit prolifically up until his death in 1923. He achieved notable success with his painting, February Fill Dyke exhibited in 1881. It

remains one of the most famous Victorian paintings and is a tribute to Leader’s artistic talents. The Royal Academy elected him an associate in 1883, and academician in 1898. He also exhibited abroad, winning the gold medal and the legion of honour in Paris in 1889.


Leader was extremely popular in Victorian times and his work sold for high prices. Today he is recognized as one of the most accomplished Victorian landscape artists of his day. He usually chose scenes from the Midlands and the Thames valley, although he was also partial to Welsh landscapes, especially around Bettws-y-Coed.


His earlier work reflects his admiration of the Pre-Raphaelites, however, he later developed a broader, more naturalistic style. A realistic feeling of space and a lightness of atmosphere are characteristic of his work. James Dafforne, the contemporary art critic of the Art Journal, praised his work in glowing terms in 1871: ‘his style is a happy medium between excess of detail and over elaboration on the one hand, and a dash of execution on the other...we regard Mr. Leader as one of our best landscape painters.’


The work of Leader is represented in the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, the Birmingham City Art Gallery, the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, the Towneley Hall Art Gallery, Burnley, the Bristol City Art Gallery, the Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston-upon-Hull, the Guildhall Art Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Manchester City Art Gallery, the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, the Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College collection, Surrey and the Worcester City Art Gallery.


Other Works By
Benjamin Williams Leader:

Benjamin Williams Leader - Water lilies


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